It's post Black that Mick Wall really starts to systematically crucify Metallica and it's blatantly evident that he's letting his inner 'Metallihead' write this part, as if in some twisted biographical version of The Dark Half - and he really lets himself and the reader down here.
Now I am by no means seeing things through some blind devotion to Metallica, but will unashamedly admit to being a die hard Metallica fan. I have been listening to them regular-like since 1987 and have been there through the ups and downs of their music making ever since. I've wandered in and out from time to time - I was one of the fans who fell out of sorts with Metallica during the beginnings of the direction change - eventually coming to terms with the undeniable knowledge that A) If they hadn't changed direction, they would have become obsolete and most likely expired as a band B) They had every right to explore new horizons and didn't owe it to anyone to "stay the course" as it were and C) motherfuckers gotta eat.
So, in time I came back around and enjoyed the music for what it was. And mostly really did like it. It was right up my alley. I was one of the few who didn't mind St.Anger and I think Death Magnetic is their best album. I shit you not. It doesn't make Master Of Puppets or Black any less good but for me, on Death Magnetic, all the elements are there and in just the right doses. But again - that's just MY opinion.
What Mick Wall fails to do here is maintain a decent amount of objectivity. Instead he uses inarguable facts in an effort to push what, to me, was clearly a personal agenda. Mick Wall didn't like Load, Reload, Garage Inc, S&M, St Anger and Death Magnetic and he has no problem letting the reader know this. The facts he uses are mostly references to sales figures, while coming across to outright scoff at markets these albums did well in. The sales cannot be denied - Load sold only half as many as the Black album, Reload half that again and so on, but holy fuck - what do you expect. As someone so succinctly puts it in the late stages of Enter Night, a music career is ups and downs - it's not a plateau. To even survive, let alone become as continually profitable for as long, is a feat in itself.
So, I really don't feel Metallica gets a fair assessment over this part of it's career in the book. Then the guy shamelessly fawns over Metallica's collaboration with Lou Reed, because well, it's Lou Fucking Reed and he's clearly a fanboy here too. Many of the same things he nails Metallica for over their last 2 albums seem to be A-OK here, strangely.
As for some things others have mentioned - Metallica has always been a band with domineering type-A personalities and that was a very unfortunate thing for Jason Newstead to be walking into. He never stood a chance with things like that. He felt no option but to leave since James wouldn't - couldn't - let him do other stuff musically. The strangest part is that this (Jason leaving) clearly resonated greatly with Hetfield and was a huge catalyst for pushing him to clean up. Just a shame it had to go that way.
So that's the bee in my bonnet, the bug up my butt!